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Being away from home is not easy. Staying years in overseas far away from Malaysia is very difficult. Adopting in others culture and ways of life somehow makes me more and more close to my own culture and ways of life. First few years it’s not too bad, I’m curious and excited to know more about others. After a while I started to looked back to my childhood times, high schools and valued most of the time I spend back there. Sometimes I feel like I’m trap in that space. Between my childhood and high school. It used to be so hard to go through. Lots of gloomy times and less happiness. But it seems that small amount of happiness tend to capture me in that space. I have to admit, I missed it. I know even if I go back and go to the same spot I used to play with my friends; things will not be the same. I really missed the food, the atmosphere, the jokes, the stupidity of some people and how they react to things (that really makes me laugh sometimes), and further more the comic magazine that I used to read, ‘Gila-Gila’.
‘Gila-Gila’ February, 2008.
I stopped reading Gila-Gila when I was preparing for my final year exam in high school. My parents disapproved reading it. Apparently, from their point of view it’s a bad influence for teenagers. Anything that doesn’t have the academic appeal seems ‘not very healthy’ for teenager. Until now, I still disagree with it. ‘Gila-Gila’ does have some ‘rude’ language in the content but it will open up a healthy discussion between the parents and the children. This can only happen if the parents enjoy reading it. It also contains some social and cultural issues, national problems, etc. It is not only ‘stupid jokes’. Well, there are, but overall it’s fun and I can say educational in some ways. Furthermore, Gila-Gila communicates to their audience with visuals, images, colors and everyday conversation (informal).
In Gila-Gila, I can see the cartoonists imitate some action from what’s happening in Malaysia. Sometimes, the authors make fun of silly things that happen in the country nationally (e.g. the increasing of the petrol, house price, education, medical, etc.). It is also the author/cartoonist personal point of views and most interestingly it’s comic. I got here the photos of the Gila-Gila magazine from their latest edition. In this cover the cartoonist illustrate the common situation in Malaysia, what we call in Malaysia ‘sembang-sembang di kedai mamak’ chatting in coffee shop owned by ‘mamak’*. This is a very common atmosphere in Malaysia, mostly in the city. People talk about anything, sometimes it is also the place for people to throw out their anger or sympathy about national issues, worlds problems etc. The scenario held in ‘Kedai Mamak’, ‘Mamak Stall’, perhaps for lunch or snack. Behind there is a menu with noodles but not stir fried, only boil or steam. Recently Malaysia face the problems with increasing the price of the cooking oil. Some rumors said that some people hide the stock of cooking oil to increase the price. Mr. A, dresses in punk fashion with angry tone said ‘Kalaulah aku dapat tukang yang sorok minyak ni memang aku rebus.!‘ ‘If I get hold on the person who hides the oil (cooking oil), I will boil him!’ (Perhaps because he himself has to eat boiled food since the price of cooking oil increased). The other, Mr. B looks like they’re both in the same fashion zone trying to calm down his mate said ‘Telan ajelah’, ‘Just eat it!’ ( I guess he can’t do much more). If you’re interested to know more of Malaysian comic magazine go to this website.
*Mamak is a friendly name to call an Indian Muslim especially the one who works in the Indian stall. It’s a common slang used in the Penang state.